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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    New Castle, IN
    Posts
    17

    Default Foundation vs Foundationless

    I had originally decided on hook foundation but started reading some very interesting information on foundationless frames. Now I am in a quandary. What is the best to use and why?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Lake Worth, Florida, USA
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: Foundation vs Foundationless

    I went through the same decision making process. I don't have vast experience, but this is my experience. I started with plastic foundation (Mann-Lake) because that is what my hives were on when I received them. With reading, I decided I wanted to try foundationless, so when I checker boarded my brood box, I dropped in foundationless frames. First thing they did was build drone comb which was fine because that ended the building of drone comb off the bottom of the frames that always ripped apart when I moved frames for inspection causing a great ruckus from the bees. Then as I rotated foundation out, it all settled down and the bees built whatever they needed. They showed a marked preference for the foundationless frames. No more undrawn frames on the sides of the box. So, this year, I wanted comb honey. After hearing crazy stories of wacky comb built in supers that were totally foundationless, I decided to alternate foundation and foundationless. Those bees surprised me - they showed a marked preference for the foundationed frames. I found this to be true in all my hives. Go figure! I never considered using bought wax (hook) foundation because pesticides accumulate in the wax and virtually all wax is contaminated. Being treatment free, I didn't want to go that route. Craft sticks glued in regular frames worked best for me. My friend just puts the frame in with no guide and that works for her. I tried wedge top frames with the wood stick attached as a guide, but consistently found the bees hung the comb off center because the wood strip is offset when attached and it was a lot of work to nail & glue those strips in. Also, it will save you $$ not buying foundation. So, that's my two cents worth. I hope it helps.
    South Florida, 9 hives, TF, foundation free, slatted racks, bottom entrances, zone 10b

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,073

    Default Re: Foundation vs Foundationless

    If you decide to go "foundation-less", buy a small amount of the foundation you want(MannLake small cell)

    Start you bee on that foundation. Then after it is drawn and has capped brood you can place a empty frame between to drawn frames. Since the cells are already capped the bees will not draw it out longer. But they will build good straight comb in the foundation-less frame because the drawn out foundation frames will act as their guide.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
    Posts
    948

    Default Re: Foundation vs Foundationless

    We do mediums with foundationless with the wedge top frames. We used to nail the wedge in turned side up but no longer do that. Read on Beesource that the bees have enough edge on the top bar without the wedge piece added and so do that now. It works, but follow the "rules" for foundationless.

    I also prefer the bottom bar nailed in upside down so that slit will not fill in with junk. Wish the bottom bar was solid. We get more usable comb in the frame by eliminating the wedge piece and it is also easier to scrape a frame clean. We saved money not buying foundation and saved time not putting foundation in nor putting the wedge in, no wires, etc.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    New Castle, IN
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Foundation vs Foundationless

    The plan right now is to buy 2 Nucs next season and checkerboard the frameless in with the drawn comb in the new hives. Does that sound feasible?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,269

    Default Re: Foundation vs Foundationless

    Checkerboarding the blank foundationless with drawn comb will result in a mess almost every time. I like some foundationless in my brood boxes so I can easily cut out queen cells on those frames. I put a foundationless frame one at a time in between two frames of brood. The bees want to re rationalize their brood nest and draw the combs out perfectly. If you do it before the bees want to raise drones, they draw it worker sized cells. As far as foundationless in my honey supers, no way! Too fragile for extraction and too erratically drawn for good cut comb honey.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,745

    Default Re: Foundation vs Foundationless

    Foundationless in the brood chambers, foundation in the honey supers. Most of my brood chamber comb is from removals.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Campbell River, British Columbia Canada
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: Foundation vs Foundationless

    i use foundationless deep frames for the broodnest and plastic foundation for the supers, they survive better and i dont get blow out, i tried a few foundationless supers and all of them blew out when extracting

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,588

    Default Re: Foundation vs Foundationless

    I would recommend wax (not plastic) foundation to a starting beekeeper.

    I agree that bees don't need or even want foundation in a hive. However, foundation simplifies things for the beekeeper. You need to learn plenty of stuff in the first 2-3 years. Save the plastic and/or foundationless projects for later, if you want.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
    Posts
    948

    Default Re: Foundation vs Foundationless

    If you are going to run more than one hive, you could try one as foundationless and double your learning experiences. Some newbees can handle that and some maybe not. Up to you what you decide.

    As was said, there are "rules" to follow. Michael Bush's web page probably has that information on it. Just know that a poorly formed comb will lead to the same on the adjoining combs. Some mild pushing of comb to align done early can avoid problems. Hive must be level side to side.

    Also, how do you plan to extract?? Crush and strain??

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